Category Archives: Blog

An Update on Generation iY: The Trust Factor

By Tim Elmore

For four years now, I’ve written on the second half of Generation Y (aka “Millennials”), the young adults who are just now entering adulthood. Sociologists have attempted to help the rest of us understand this new breed of digital natives who are the first generation to grow up online and not have to adapt to technology. I’ve mentioned a variety of paradoxes they embrace, but today, I have a new one: They are connected in so many ways, yet disconnected in so many, too.

According to a study conducted last month by Pew Research, these young adults have a unique set of character traits:

  • They are relatively unattached to organized politics or religion.
  • They are burdened by debt
  • They are distrustful of people
  • They are linked by social media
  • They are in no rush to get married
  • They are optimistic about their own future.

In an interesting sort of way, this demographic is basically saying: I want to stay connected to people, but I have a quiet distrust and suspicion of them. So many want a life that’s connected but disconnected. They want others to trust them enough to help them…but they may not trust those same people. When I first began working with college students in 1979, I began to see a similar cynicism toward institutions. But this time around, it’s more well-informed. Thanks to Twitter, SnapChat and Instagram, word travels faster now and expands distrust more quickly and deeply. All our heroes have flaws… and we know them well. Marriage licenses should involve a pre-nuptial agreement, in case it doesn’t work out. Pro athletes are all about the money, not the team. Working relationships need a contract with a clause, to protect your interests in case you get sued.

Their New Path

How low are the levels of social trust in this generation? In response to a long-standing survey question that asked, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted, or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?” just 19% of Generation Y said most people can be trusted, compared to much higher percentages for Generation X and Baby Boomers.

It seems that Generation Y is forging a new, distinctive path into adulthood. How will this affect their adult life? We can only guess, but if trends continue this way, look for possible attitude shifts in how young people view current institutions:

  • Marriage – I’ll wait and perhaps never get married. I don’t see many working.
  • Voting – I may not bother to vote. The whole system is corrupt anyway.
  • Faith – I’ll find my spirituality apart from an organized religious community.
  • Business – I won’t join an existing corporation, I will start my own company.
  • Friends – I’ll form many of my relationships virtually so I am safe from harm.

Their racial diversity may partly explain Millennials’ low levels of social trust. A 2007 Pew Research Center analysis found that minorities and low-income adults had lower levels of social trust than other groups. Based on similar findings over many years from other surveys, sociologists have theorized that people who feel vulnerable or disadvantaged find it riskier to trust others because they’re less fortified to deal with the consequences of misplaced trust.

What We Can Do

Here’s the challenge we must help them navigate. So much of our happiness, satisfaction and success is built upon trust. Research shows that the happiest people are trusting of others. They believe the best about others and forgive easily. They keep short accounts. They take risks. If we cannot help them begin to trust people and organizations, we’ll have a lonely world on our hands in the future. We must be trustworthy and help them build trust. Here are some steps to take:

1. Be consistent and keep your word. Leadership operates on the basis of trust.
2. Relay what’s good about your institution and help them see the positive.
3. Don’t pretend life is perfect. Model how to work in a flawed organization.
4. Equip them to resolve conflict instead of running from hard relationships.
5. Enable them to be a “good-finder” rather than a fault-finder.
6. Mentor them beyond an attitude of entitlement: happiness is a by-product of work and trust, not something that’s given away freely.

Here’s to building trust in this new generation. What would you add to the list?

- See more at:



The Inverse Relationship Between Empathy and Narcissism

By Tim Elmore

Do you remember the character in Greek mythology named Narcissus? He was the handsome man who, because of his indifference and disdain toward others, was punished by the gods to fall in love with his own reflection when he looked into the water. In fact, he so enraptured by his beauty that he was unable to pull himself away from his reflection, and as a result, wasted away and died.

Unfortunately, his spirit lives on in America today. Especially among students.

Narcissism is on the rise in kids today. One study found that one in four young people were classified as narcissistic, according to a widely accepted psychological test. That number has doubled in the last thirty years. Another study reported that since the 1980s, there’s been a 40% decline among young people in empathy, a personality attribute inversely related to narcissism. In nationwide reports, it takes teens longer to get ready in the morning than at any time since we’ve been studying this topic. They are distracted by the mirror and often blinded to the needs of others.

TV psychologist Dr. Drew performed a study of celebrities and found them to be even more narcissistic than the general population. (Are you surprised?) What’s funny is—the celebrities most prone to Narcissistic Personality Disorder were female reality TV stars! More than talent, it’s likely their narcissism drove them to be stars. According to psychologist Dr. Jim Taylor, another fascinating study was just published exploring the changes in music lyrics over the past three decades. The researchers found a significant shift toward lyrics that reflect narcissism (“I” and “me” appear more often “we” and “us”) and hostility (change from positive to angry words and emotions). These findings aren’t just due to the increased popularity and influence of hip-hop music (which is known for its aggrandizement of the artists and its venom), but are evident across musical genres.

All of this is cultivating a generation of kids who are enamored with themselves. They have a false sense of who they are. No doubt, we want our children to possess a healthy self-esteem, a sense of self-love. But their condition is now bordering on unhealthy. Self-love is incomplete and immature as a solo attribute. Self-love without empathy is lopsided and leads to both arrogance and misery. We are setting teens and twenty-somethings up for a fall as adults. And now, it’s time to act, as mentors and teachers in their lives.

Steps We Can Take

If you see signs of this in the kids or students you lead, consider the following:

1. Talk about this topic. Share the statistics from this blog. Discuss how narcissism impacts their generation. Do they see it?

2. Work to equip them to see the role they play in the bigger picture. They play a role in history, but they may not be the “star” of the story.

3. Visit the homeless or families who live in poverty. Help them see those less fortunate. This can diminish their sense of entitlement.

4. Talk about the song lyrics in popular music today. How does it play into self-absorption and self-pleasure?

5. Help them get involved serving the community around them. Participating in meeting the needs of others is the quickest way to overcome selfishness.

6. Discuss limiting their time in front of the mirror or in front of shows that foster narcissism and self-absorption.

What have you observed? What steps would you add to this list? Let’s make it helpful to all kinds of problematic scenarios.

- See more at:



Too Busy

“If Satan can’t get you to sin he will get you busy”-Billy Sunday

How are you and God doing? Let me ask it this way, are you giving God your best each day, or your leftovers? There are two things that expose our priorities. One is our checkbook, but don’t panic I am not going to talk about money today. The second thing that exposes our priorities is our calendar. How we plan our day says a lot about who we see as a priority.

Why do we work so hard to plan out our work schedule, kid’s schedule and even church schedule, but we are only casual in our efforts to plan time with Christ? The greatest thing the enemy can do is get us busy with “good” things and keep us away from the “great” things that God intended for our lives!!

What does God’s Word say?:

“a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:39-42

Martha was doing good things for the Lord and things that sometimes need to be done, but the greater thing is to be still and listen to the Lord of this universe and more importantly the Lord of YOU and me!

The truth is, if you are too busy to read this you may be too busy for God?!? Slow down, begin to give Christ a priority place in your daily calendar. Just a thought!

Submitted By Lance Brown WhoUWith? Ministries


Can You Imagine Giving Up Your Olympic Spot? She did!

Lanny Barnes was too ill to compete in some of the qualifying races for the Olympic Trials.  Her sister, Tracy, competed and qualified for the U.S. Team.  Then, she did something very unusual.  Watch this ad from Guinness to see:

There is something so beautiful about this type of sacrificial act.  This picture stands in contrast to the “win at all costs” competitive attitude of so much of our athletics today.  In doing so, it touches our hearts as it captures the heart of redeemed competition where athletes “strive together to more fully express the image of God in each other.”

“Love is selfless dedication,” Tracy said, according to 3 Wire Sports. “Love means giving up your dream so someone else can realize theirs….“If I were to sum up the decision,” she reiterated, “it’s not hard to make a decision like that when you care about someone. Anyone who cares about someone can relate to making a sacrifice for someone they care for.”

God had acts like this on his mind when he gave us the capacity to play.  Oh for the day that, as we play, where we would have more acts like this on our minds.



Coach Suspends Entire Team

Back in September, a high school football coach did something quite unusual.  Matt Labrum and his coaching staff at Union High School actually suspended 41 of the varsity and junior varsity players for bad behavior ranging from skipping classes to bullying (this was all of the players on the team that were sophomores to seniors).

“We felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn’t want our young men going,” said Labrum, an alumnus of the program he’s coached for the past two years.  “We felt like we needed to make a stand.”

So the coach and his staff gathered the team together after Friday night’s loss to Judge Memorial Catholic High School and told them he was concerned about some of the players’ actions and behavior off the field. He then instructed them all to turn in their jerseys and their equipment. There would be no football until they earned the privilege to play.

The coaches told them there would be a 7 a.m. meeting the next day where they would have an opportunity to re-earn a spot on the team. (For more on the story click here.)

In the letter the coaches passed out on Friday, they outlined the activities for the following week that would give them a chance to get back on the team, which included performing service projects instead of practice and attending a class on character and writing a report about it.   32 of the 41 did the required activities and got their jerseys back.

The support for the coaches’ efforts has been overwhelmingly positive.  I applaud them as well.

I especially like their recognition that football is about something greater than winning.

“We looked at it as a chance to say, ‘Hey, we need to focus on some other things that are more important than winning a football game,” Labrum said.

The list of those other important things was quite impressive – humbleness, thankfulness, humility, respect, courage and honor.  Building these qualities into young men is a different kind of winning, a greater, more lasting winning.

Sports are a great laboratory for building character.  The question is what kind of character.

If more coaches adopted this coach’s attitude about winning, we would see a reversal of the trend in the last 30 years pointed to by researches such as Sharon Stoll of the University of Idaho for the direct relationship between the degradation of the moral character of an athlete and the length of time they play a sport.

This staff’s efforts show we can turn the tide.  We can be involved in fixing this brokenness in sports.

Matt Labrum – may your tribe increase!


Partners in Ministry

Notes from Roger Lipe, Southern Illinois, Sport Chaplain / Sport Mentor / Character Coach

Across these twenty seasons of college football I’ve written and delivered a lot of pre-game chapel talks. I thought I’d share the chapel I conducted last Saturday prior to the Football Salukis’ game at Western Illinois University. Our game with the Leathernecks had a 1:00 pm start time and our chapel was at 8:45 am, just prior to the team meal. 100% of the coaching staff and team were in attendance. I was pleased to speak on one of my favorite scripture passages. Below is the outline of my talk. I hope it is of some value to you.

Saluki Football – “Common Cause”

Introduction – This is game one of our four game sprint to the playoffs. Let’s be great today.

Opening prayer by a Junior Running Back.

Common Cause – Thousands of years ago, a man named Moses led two million people from slavery in Egypt to their home in Palestine. Two million people is the equivalent of 20,000 football teams like ours. Their common cause is detailed in the first five books of the Bible and in Psalm 90. Read Psalm 90:12-17. This is the Prayer of Moses, the Man of God.

v. 12 – Understand the brevity of life and of opportunity, live wisely.

v. 13 – God, please visit us with compassion, life is hard.

vv. 14-15 – Please provide food for us again tomorrow and allow us some good days to match

these hard days.

v. 16 – Show us what to do as men. Let our kids experience a great life.

v. 17 – Please show us favor with our friends and even with our enemies. Establish our work, make

it of lasting impact.

Saluki Football’s Common Cause and my prayer for this team today is this.

·        I pray that we understand how brief the remaining season is and that we will wisely seize this opportunity.

·        I pray that we sense God’s presence on the field today and seek the best of the college football experience.

·        I pray that our coaching staff sees clearly what to do in every moment and that our players find great joy in the game.

·        I pray that we have the favor of God upon us and that the work of our hands; countless hours of study, practice, and training are confirmed, established,

and have a lasting impact.

That’s my prayer for Saluki Football today, our common cause, step one of four to a playoff berth.

Closing prayer by our injured, fifth year quarterback.

Submitted by: Ken Cross, Vice President of Sports Chaplains Network



ONE MINUTE GUN:“The Ministry of Walking Around”

For those of you who are part of boat racing you know that a big part of what we do as chaplains is simply walking around in the pits spending time talking about racing or any life issue that might be on someone’s mind.

Max Helton, the founder of the NASCAR chaplaincy, called our job “the ministry of hanging out.”  That’s what he did when he became the NASCAR chaplain.

He was so effective at impacting peoples’ lives from the most popular driver to the guy that drove the hauler from race to race.

The amazing thing is, when you stop to think about it, Jesus’ ministry was simply a lot of walking around, as well.

Jesus ministry was not a formal sort of thing like most churches today.  Instead it was  primarily hanging out with twelve disciples living life and responding to what came their way in the flow of life.

There is a fancy term for this: it is called incarnational ministry.  It simply means “the ministry of hanging out!”

It is what Jan and I love doing the most: spending time with people sharing our life in Christ with others … We have had a good example to follow!

“The Son of Man, (Jesus), did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.

Father, often times we make spirituality complicated. All you want us to do is allow Christ to love others through us by the way we live our lives, love others and speak of the One who gave His life for us.  Amen.


Submitted By Ken Cross, Vice-President of Sports Chaplains Network





ONE MINUTE GUN:“Accomplishes Much!”

In any community a few people are known to really get things done.  No matter how much they do, these are the “go to” people when you need help from someone.

I don’t know why this is the case.  You’d think we shouldn’t bother the “busy” people; but they seem to thrive on getting a  lot done. You can count on them to get it done!

The Bible has an interesting verse.  Basically it says that by praying we accomplish a lot.  What?  That’s right.  Wherever we are, whatever we are doing (even resting!), we can pray and have impact.  When we talk to the Right Person (God) our “askings” fall on the right ears, the One who has power to meet those requests.

Whatever you face today, large or small, for you or someone else, PRAY! You’ll get a lot accomplished!

“The prayer of a person right with God is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

Father, thank you that as I come to you with my requests much will be accomplished.  I love being a part of what you are doing. Amen


Submitted by Ken Cross Vice President, Sports Chaplains Network




Was There Competition in the Garden?

Please read this very important blog from Bob, it has ramifications on all we do as Sports Chaplains.  Bob Schindler is the executive director of the Church Sports Outreach. Both CSO and the Sports Chaplains Network make up the Sports Outreach Group.

This is a very important question for every sports minister and athlete to ask.

If competition only came after the Fall in Genesis 3, then as followers of Christ we should move people out of competition and sports rather than into them.  Jesus Christ came to overcome all of the corruption from the Fall.  If competition is a part of this corruption, then, in our work as fellow laborers with Christ to build the kingdom of God, we should work to eliminate, not encourage competition.  However, if there was competition in the Garden, then the Fall didn’t bring competition into existence, it only corrupted it.   Our work would then be to overcome the corruption and restore competition to the original design, not to eliminate it.

To answer the question, we need first to define what we are looking for in the Garden.  The word competition comes from the Latin word competere, which means to seek or strive together.  In our culture, we typically think of competition as striving against.  In our search, we will look for the first idea – striving together.

I find at least two places in Genesis 1 & 2 where this striving together, this competition takes place.  The first comes in Genesis 1:28 where God says to Adam & Eve, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  These verses have been referred to as the Cultural or Dominion Mandate.

Have you ever asked, “What was to subdue if the world was perfect?”  While there was no sin, that doesn’t mean the world was complete.  It was raw, wild and chaotic outside the Garden.  Not music, no art, no inventions yet.  Just raw material.  Adam and Eve were to subdue this rawness, this chaos.  To exercise dominion meant that they were to “manage whatever facets of creation God places before them….The Great King has summoned us (them and) each of us into his throne room.  ‘Take this portion of my kingdom,’ he says.  ‘Put your heart into mastering this part of the world.  Get it in order, unearth its treasures; do all you can with it.’”[1] From the Garden and into the chaotic world around it, Adam & Eve were to bring order from chaos, a non-conforming world to conformity to God’s purposes, and treasures from the raw material in creation – including themselves.

Notice, this command was given to both of them.  They were to unearth treasures together just as they were to multiply together.  This required cooperation, a striving together toward this end.  Here we see competition.  As they strived together, each one brought out more of the image of God in them.

I can imagine one day Adam says, “Eve, would you toss me an orange.”  Now Eve had never tossed before but she picks up the orange, reflects for a moment and throws it.  It is a little high and Adam has to jump up from his seat to catch it.  He has never jumped but reflexively does so.  “Hey that was fun.  Do it again only higher,” Adam says.  Eve picks up another oranges, thinks for a moment and throws it higher.  Adam has to really jump but stretches out and catches it.  On and on it goes with lots of laughter.

Do you see what is happening there?  More of the “treasure” within them is being unearthed.  Adam’s ability to jump and Eve’s ability to calculate angle, velocity, distance for a perfect throw are coming out.  Can you sense the joy?  The fun?  Can you taste this original game?  And in the process, God is glorified.  His image, Adam & Eve, are showing off more and more of the “glory” given them.

You may respond, “But that isn’t there in Genesis.  There is no tossing, no “original corn-hole game”.  It doesn’t say there is but I can’t help but think this happened because of the second place I find competition in Genesis 1 & 2.

Genesis 1:26, 27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, he created him; male and female he created them.”  God is speaking to someone here.  Who is it?  Whoever it is shares creative power (us make) and image (our image). It doesn’t say, “Let us make man in my image.” or “Let me make man in our image.” There is an “US”.  But then it says, “So God created.”  Not “they created”.  A ONE.  An US and a ONE.  Seems confusing.

Most of us, because of our background, immediately explain, “Well that is the Trinity.  One but three.  The Father is talking to the Son and the Spirit.”  We need to remember that this idea of the Trinity or the Godhead was veiled in the Old Testament.  It is there but hard to see.  The coming of the Son lifted the veil.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:1,2, 14)

Yet much of the wrestling with Christianity has come over this issue of the deity of Christ and understanding of the Godhead, this Trinity.  How can one be three?  Without a hierarchy?  Equal but distinct?  How do they relate to each other?  We wrestle with this great mystery to this day.

In the second and third century, the early Church Fathers looked to explain this mystery.  They came up with the word perichoresis to describe the dynamic between the Godhead.  Perichoresis means to dance around.  “”Each of the divine persons centers on the others.  None demands that the others revolve around him.  Each voluntarily circles the other two, pouring love, delight and adoration into them.  Each person of the Trinity loves, adores, defers to, and rejoices in the others.  That creates a dynamic, pulsating dance of joy and love.” [2]

The Godhead dancing.  Ever thought about that?  C.S Lewis adds, “In Christianity God is not an impersonal thing nor a static thing – not even just a person – but a dynamic pulsating activity, a life, a kind of drama, almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.”  [3]

For us dance is choreographed movement typically to music.  Play is choreographed movement without music.   Could we even think of this as THE ORIGINAL TEAM, the Godhead, playing?  Creation was the result of the Godhead dancing, may we say even playing!

If Adam and Eve were made in this image, would play have been a part of their lives?  Absolutely!!!!

Lewis asks, “And, now, what does it all matter?  It matters more than anything else in the world.  The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us: or (putting it the other way around) each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in the dance.”[4]

Look around us and, without a doubt we are a long way from that original dance, that original play.  But if we don’t have this picture clear in our mind, if we don’t taste of this joy and fun, and the glory it gives to God, then when we attempt to take our place in the dance and ask,  “What does Christian competition look like?”, we find that it is like trying to restore a pile of metal into a ’57 Chevy , but we have never seen one!  We would be lost and confused.

To clear up the confusion, we need that picture.  We need to study it, to think about it, to envision it, to feel something of what it was like.  We need to “get back to the Garden.”

To hear a recently recorded message of Bob Schindler further talking about these ideas, click here.

[1] Richard Pratt, Designed for Dignity, p. 34, 35. [2] Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (Penguin Group, 2008), p 215.

[3] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Simon & Schuster, 1980), p. 152. [4] Ibid

Submitted by Ken Cross Vice President, Sports Chaplains Network



Redeemed Competition – Wrestling with Winning

In the 2012 South Metro Wrestling Tournament in Georgia, Demetrius de Moors faced an opponent that caused him to ask the question, “If I could only wrestle one time, only experience this one time, how would I want it to be?” 

This radical approach produced this amazing result.

What is clear is that winning the match was subservient to a greater goal for Demetrius.  I would suggest that goal reflected what redeemed competition is supposed to look like – striving together to more fully express the image of God in all of us.

Interestingly, this competition didn’t just impact those competing, as the video illustrates.  Even one of Demetrius’ teammates comments afterwards, “He (Demetrius) brought something out of me.  He made me want to be a better person.”

Now that is redeemed competition.

Submitted by Ken Cross